Street Legal - In The Can

Motorcycle videos are getting some serious hits on YouTube. Be it for reviewing bikes, showing off your Moto GP style riding skills or simply giving viewers a glimpse into your riding world, there’s no denying just how amazing these cameras are at capturing the spirit of motorcycling.

I’ve spent hours on line watching these videos. My wife thinks I’m a bit strange but I don’t care! I was thrilled when she suggested that we buy one of these cameras for a holiday to Thailand to take videos under water and to look stupid taking selfies.

“Fantastic” I said. Of course, the real reason I was thrilled was that I would now get to use the camera on my bike. So far so good. The camera recently made its debut on a trip around the Cooley Mountains and I can’t wait to share this with my (virtual) friends online. The scenery was breath taking, but sadly, my riding, as ever, was not.

Recently I settled a road traffic accident case involving a motorcyclist who was riding straight through a crossroads on her way to work. She had the right of way and proceeded straight through the junction. A car that was travelling in the opposite direction was turning right at the same junction. He was only supposed to turn right across my client’s path when it was safe to do so. You can, I’m sure, see where this is going. My client rode straight into his passenger side front door and sustained a multitude of injuries. Her “baby”, a Kawasaki Ninja 250, was badly damaged also, just to add insult to actual bodily injury.

He insisted that he didn’t see her at all, but much to my client’s annoyance he tried to claim, wrongly, that she was riding in the bus lane just before the crash. Instinctively I asked her “did you have a camera?” and she looked at me as if had two heads. I then remembered that not everybody in Ireland drools over bikes online in the way that I do. After quickly explaining what a GoPro is, she advised that she did not have one.

Luckily a 3D map I dug out from the Internet was able to prove that she was not riding on a bus lane and the insurers quickly conceded liability. The case settled a few months later and my client had her “baby” repaired by the insurers and is now back on the road. It then dawned on me that every single motorcyclist should have one of these devices at all times and I now ride with my camera at all times.

On of these cameras can be mounted on the handlebars, or pretty much any part of the bike. The footage can be edited in all sorts of ways. The trendier kids online play their videos to the latest dance music. The older riders seem to go for classic rock. I’d prefer no music, just the rugged growling sound of my Honda CBR (125 cough cough) Repsol.

Riders can critique their own riding style and improve. Others can add their comments online. A lot of money can also be made if your videos get enough hits. Steve Midz rose to fame earlier this year after his now famous run in with bare-knuckle boxer Ronnie Pickering whilst riding his moped. If you haven’t seen this video, you must!

There are, however, downsides to these devices also. In the UK one rider posted a video online of him riding a bike at 153 MPH (246 KPH) down narrow country roads. Police eventually traced the video to the offender and he was rightfully prosecuted. The speedometer showing these crazy speeds were in full sight and he had no defence. There are also some horrific videos online showing all sorts of crashes, and these are not for the faint hearted.

As a Solicitor I feel that every rider should use a digital video camera. In the case mentioned earlier, the third party made an allegation that could potentially have ruined my client’s case. It was the classic case of “one word versus the other.” If a rider has footage of a crash there can be no denying the facts. There can be no hiding from the truth and perfectly good cases can fail as a result of “one word against another”. Riding on two wheels can be perilous enough at times. Personally, I don’t trust other drivers to see me on the road, even in my bright orange bike and high visibility gear, and I am always trying to think three steps ahead of other road users. Just don’t be silly and share videos of you breaking the law. Some free professional advice would be that this is never a good idea!

My new GoPro won’t stop idiots from crashing into me, it won’t make me ride any safer and it will not make my hair grow back. But in the event that I am involved in an accident it will be the most crucial piece of evidence available to me. And this reassures me in a strange way.

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